Interview with K M Mittan

Where did you grow up, and how did this influence your writing?
I grew up on Nephi's cattle ranch in scenic Jackson Hole, Wyoming. I lived in his home, worked in his fields and frequently tended to his personal needs. I couldn't have asked for a more ideal childhood and that was the basis for 'I, Nephi...'.
Because his ranch was in a remote area of Jackson Hole, I attended a one-roomed country school whose teacher, Nephi's daughter, sent one student to graduate valedictorian of his engineering school at BYU and another who attended Princeton and is now a law professor in New York City. I absolutely hated her Language class but I learned to craft a complete sentence and construct a cohesive story. Of course, since I know the rules I frequently throw the rulebook out of the window. Just because I can.
When did you first start writing?
Probably in the first grade. I attended a one-roomed country school all eight years of grade school and we frequently wrote stories as part of our Language (now called English) assignments.
What's the story behind your latest book?
If you're speaking of "I, Nephi...", from the time I was a teenager in highschool I've wanted to write about Nephi. His life, his ranch and his surroundings in the beautiful Jackson Hole valley were too rich to be left unshared.
I am now working on the second book in a fantasy series. Why such a radical jump in genre? I read a Scandinavian fairy tale and its possibilities intrigued me so much I couldn't resist. When you're writing fantasy the sky's literally the limit.
What motivated you to become an indie author?
When one thinks of the American West, one normally pictures cattle drives and wagon trains, dust storms and rattlesnakes, summer drought and devastating blizzards. But what about the individuals who endured those things to settle the deserts and mountain valleys from the Rocky Mountains to the Pacific? What motivated those folks to strike out on their own? Why did they cling to their land and their way of life? What were their dreams? How did the difficulties they encountered change their lives, their very way of thinking? Nephi's life and experiences answer these questions through the eyes of one real man who lived the homesteader's life.
'I, Nephi...' is a western novel in the truest sense but it doesn't focus solely on romance or gunplay. In it I could accurately depict the individual lives of early homesteaders because I knew many of the men and women who settled the Hole. I knew their ranches and the valley in which they lived. I rode their ranges and listened to their stories. And I was only too aware of the mayhem that Nephi, himself, was thoroughly capable of creating.
Westerns aren't the most popular genre at the moment and I could find only one publishing house that was even interested in printing them. I didn't want a run of maybe a hundred books printed and then to have Nephi's life relegated to an archive. By becoming an indie author I not only had complete control of the content and cover, I knew as long as there was an internet, Nephi's story would be available for anyone interested in learning about the American West through an entertaining novel.
Who are your favorite authors?
I have many that I favor. Nevil Shute, Ivan Hoag, Brandon Sanderson, Fanny Flagg, John Grisham and Nicholas Sparks, to name a few. My literary tastes are quite eclectic. If a book has an engaging plot, is well written and isn't littered with cuss words and sex scenes, I'll read it.
What inspires you to get out of bed each day?
Acute back ache and sunshine.
When you're not writing, how do you spend your time?
Reading, gardening, designing, name it. I keep busy.
How do you discover the ebooks you read?
Generally I read the ebooks my oldest son recommends. He knows my tastes and we frequently exchange thoughts on writing styles and content.
Do you remember the first story you ever wrote?
Oh, heavens no! It was decades ago. I clearly remember some I plotted but never wrote, however. I used to concoct intricate stories just to entertain myself while working in Nephi Moulton's fields in the summertime.
What is your writing process?
Initially, years of research and thought. Then, once I start a book it's an agonizing process. Hemingway once said, "There is nothing to writing. All you do is sit down at a typewriter and bleed." I can become quite anemic before a project is finished.
Describe your desk
My desk is my lap; my couch is my chair.
Published 2014-01-02.
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